How to Create a Strategy for Biophilic Design

Oliver Heath Uncategorized

Now we are seeing a gradual lift and return to some normal practices post COVID-19 lockdown, but how are you going to use what you have learnt to implement this into strategy and your other routine spaces? Your office? Place of work? Gym? Educational spaces?

As we return to a ‘new normal’ we are starting to look at what a post-COVID world would look like and how incorporating biophilic design is more important than ever.

Redefining the workplace

Now we have had time to reflect and notice what we like and dislike about our work spaces, it is now time to put this into practice. What are our takeaways from lockdown? How can we implement this into our lives? With more focus on a hybrid of working from home and office, we are now asking how can we create a balance and how it can it be best for our health and wellbeing?

New research from a recent YouGov poll by RSPB reveals overwhelming public support for protecting and investing in nature, as well as the importance nature plays in Coronavirus recovery plans.

“The results of the survey are striking in the sheer level of public agreement about the importance of nature, not only in the middle of the Coronavirus lockdown, but as we look forward and plan for our recovery from this crisis. Mayors have a chance to dramatically improve people’s health and wellbeing and the resilience of communities by supporting and prioritising measures that increase nature and natural greenspace at the same time as creating jobs and investment, and stimulating the economy.” Emma Marsh, Director, RSPB England.

So how can you start to think about building a strategy to implement human-centred design into your space?

Develop a narrative of biophilia and a business case for why it is so essential

At Oliver Heath Design we specialise in being a research-led architectural design practice, meaning most of the work we produce is based on extensive research and knowledge of studies to create our biophilic design strategy and implementation of human-centred design.

Biophilic design can have many tangible benefits including beneficial financial implications, due to the improvement of the overall health and wellbeing of the building occupants. Just recently we’ve worked for Bloomberg, Booking.com and the Building Research Establishment (The BRE) to develop a biophilic design strategy that could see improvements for their staff in a variety of spaces.

Imagine having statistics that prove this way of design can increase performance, reduce absenteeism and boost creativity.

By using an evidence-based approach you can create a compelling case for why human-centred design is important in your space and thus convince your clients/decision-makers that the economic benefits add up.

Create strategies and guidelines to match your brand ethos and identity

As companies and businesses try to return to normal, it is important they understand the need to reinvent and adapt their workplace. Not only to suit new safety guidelines, but to also listen and take care of their employees/guests in a way that may have not been thought of before – in a way that mirrors the brand values and spatial identity.

Biophilic design starts with the concept that people come first and our relationships with each other and nature can improve our wellbeing, productivity and sense of belonging.

Working closely with your brand ethos, we can create a strong workplace culture aligning the values of individuals within an organisation.

Understand budgets

From zero cost to a high investment, there is an option for all types of projects to incorporate biophilic design into a space. The key to this is recognising the opportunities and creating strategies that make it accessible at a variety of scales.

Biophilic design does not have to be an expensive option and can also be used as a creative exercise to improve wellbeing. Even with a zero-cost project, one can embark on an educational journey to shift culture and increase awareness in designing with the human in mind.

With a medium sized budget, you would be able to introduce varying levels of interior design changes, refurbishment and decorating within the 14 patterns of biophilic design.

Identify areas of concern/improvement

Once we have established this pathway, we can investigate specific spaces or projects, discussing what opportunities and potential benefits could be realised by implementing our services and techniques.

In this initial stage of consultation, we would discuss:

  • The building; size, type, and location
  • The variety of activities that you would like to take place in it
  • How you want people to feel when in those spaces
  • The physical and mental wellbeing of building occupants
  • Time frames and programmes
  • Project budgets

Following this deeper understanding of your project we can assess the next stages for implementation through design and specification.

Once the project is complete we would always recommend measuring the benefit using a post occupancy evaluation study – as we have outlined in this design guide https://www.oliverheath.com/resources/creating-positive-spaces-by-measuring-the-impact-of-your-design/

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If you or your business is looking to integrate wellbeing through biophilic design into your spaces, contact us to set-up a consultation and find out more about how Oliver Heath Design can help you.

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